Sentinel and Guide
A very weary Detective James Joseph Ellison pulled up in front of his residence at 852 Prospect Ave. He sat in his classic Ford pick-up for several moments closing his eyes and resting his head against the steering wheel before opening the door, sliding out, and letting his boots hit the street. He was tired and had a pounding headache. He’d been on a stakeout for days using his senses non-stop without his guide, Detective Blair Sandburg, Jim’s partner, best friend, roommate, and guide. Blair had to be on hand to testify at a lengthy and complicated trial so he wasn’t able to join the stakeout. There were others on the team that could stand in for the guide on a limited basis but none as adept as Blair. None with the special bond between Sentinel and Guide.
The Sentinel stood silently on the sidewalk in front of his apartment building. The familiar sights and sounds soothed Jim. He could feel his headache begin to subside. As he briefly extended his hearing, Jim heard his guide put the kettle on for tea. His nose told him there was a chicken slowly roasting in the oven along with potatoes. There was also another scent. Jim quickly pulled back his senses as he entered the building; there was no need to agitate his waning headache.
For once the elevator worked and Jim was forever grateful. As it crept up to the third floor, Jim focused his hearing on his own apartment and briefly on his neighbors. It made him happy to be surrounded by the sounds of normal life. As a detective he often saw the ugly things, the worst things that life could throw at him. The sounds of his neighbors going about their everyday business was a tonic to the often cynical detective.
Jim was closing the elevator gate when another sound caught his attention. It was the sound of crying and it seemed to be emanating from his own apartment. The crying wasn’t coming from Blair but yet somehow sounded very familiar. As Jim opened his apartment door and was about to greet his partner, he was suddenly overcome by a strong odor that sparked a fit of loud and powerful sneezes bringing tears to his eye.
“Sandburg!” Jim growled in between sneezes. Through blurry eyes, Jim noticed someone else in the kitchen with his guide. “Naomi,” he shouted punctuated by a series of sneezes. She was chopping onions for their salad.
Blair made a beeline for the balcony doors just as Jim was on the move. Blair flung opened the doors just in time as Jim skidded across the floor and out onto the balcony. He stood by the rail filling his lungs with the sea air, trying to expel the scent of sage. Blair was rubbing soothing circles on the small of Jim’s back talking low in his guide voice helping his sentinel regain control.
“Sorry, Jim, I didn’t think you’d be home so early. Naomi came earlier and we started talking and cooking. The time got away from me. We had a wonderful lunch of whole wheat spaghetti with ostrich meatballs,” Blair said proudly. Jim gaped at him with a look of sheer horror. “I swear dinner is real chicken, baked potatoes, and green beans. Okay?”
Jim couldn’t find his voice just yet so he nodded. He waved a hand indicating he was going to stay on the balcony until it was safe enough to go back inside. Blair sighed but he understood.
“Beer?” Blair asked as Jim sat on a chair.
“Please,” Jim croaked between a few more sneezes.
“Blair, Sweetie, I just don’t know how you can continue to live with a man with an allergy to sage,” Naomi stated as she wiped the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand.
“We’ve spoken about this before, Naomi. I will not leave him just as he will never leave me. Now, end of discussion. Let’s set the table,” Blair stated.
“Very well,” Naomi said with a pout. She put together the salad in a pretty bowl then placed it on the table. “He’s awfully quiet out there. Do you think he’s all right?” Naomi asked when she hadn’t heard any sneezing for a while.
Blair quickly took the chicken out of the oven and placed it on the stove then he rushed to the balcony. “Jim?” Blair asked sentinel soft. He got there in time to rescue the beer bottle before it hit the floor. Blair stood there for a minute watching his sentinel. Jim was fast asleep. The air was fairly warm for Cascade, but there was a cool breeze and not a rain cloud in sight. Blair went back inside to get the throw from the back of the sofa to drape over Jim.
“Let’s eat,” Blair said to his mother when he came back inside. Mother and son ate in companionable silence. They cleaned up after dinner then Naomi left.
“You know you can stay with us tonight,” Blair said before his mother swept her way out of the loft.
“I know, Sweetie, but my cab is waiting outside. I’m off to Arizona to study with a shaman. I hear he can help me to read the auras of animals! Isn’t that wonderful, darling?” Naomi asked with enthusiasm.
“Yes it is, Mom,” Blair stated indulgently. “Have a great time and email me soon.”
“Of course, Blair. I love you,” she said as she gave her son a kiss.
“Love you too,” Blair said as he watched his mother get on the elevator. He waved until he could no longer see her eyes. Blair quietly shut the door and locked up.
As he turned, he ran right into Jim. Jim woke up refreshed, headache gone and ready for dinner and anything else his guide had in mind. Jim caught Blair before he bounced off Jim’s muscular body and landed on the floor.
“Geez, Jim, wear a bell, will ya,” Blair scolded. Jim gave Blair a contrite smile as he handed Blair a piece of paper.
“What’s this?” Blair asked as he went to his room to search for his reading glasses. Jim loaded up a dinner plate then sat at the table to enjoy. Blair came flying out of the little room under the stairs.
“Do you know what this is? Of course you do, you just handed it to me. Are you serious? You have to be if you gave this to me. I mean this couldn’t be a joke, cause if it is, it would be a terrible joke. Do you really want to do this? You wouldn’t have given me this to sign if you didn’t.”
Jim put down his utensils, wiped his mouth with his napkin then looked up. “Breathe, Sandburg.” Blair cut short his babbling to take Jim’s advice. “I’m very serious. How long have we been together?”
“Uh, together or together, together?” Blair asked.
Jim chuckled. “Together, together.”
“Ten years. Why?”
“Are you ready to take that trip with me?” Jim’s ice blue eyes glowed as he looked at Blair.
“Yes I am,” Blair agreed as he sat next to Jim. He wore a wide smile and his ocean blue eyes sparkled.
“All right then,” Jim said as he held out his hand.
“All right,” Blair said as he took Jim’s hand. Blair then handed the signed license application back to Jim.
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